Paying Attention is a Good Thing


This is probably going to be one long ramble.  I’m sort of in that kind of mood today!  Sorry about this, but here we go.

As I was walking into work this morning, I noticed a lot of people walking around with headphones in their ears, music turned up loud, even reading books while walking.  This is usually the norm–it’s a college campus, after all.  But as I was walking in to work I pondered this matter.  Why wasn’t I listening to music while I made my merry way to work?  My music player was in my backpack within easy reach.  I could reach around and grab it and stick the earbuds in and turn it up loud.  It’s not like I haven’t done it before either.

But if I did that I would miss the sound of the wind in the trees.  I would miss the chatter of conversations, the whirrrrr of the cars, the flapping of the flags nearby.  I wouldn’t hear the sound of my footsteps, my flat-soled boots tapping on the sidewalk.  I would be deaf to the sounds of the world going on around me.  And why would I want to cut that off?  Not only is it a safety issue (if I can’t hear the car coming at me as I cross the street that’s not exactly good), but it’s a pleasure and a connectivity issue.  I like the sound of the wind, especially when I can hear it move the trees.  It’s peaceful and comforting and makes my heart light.

The same would be true if I were to make myself blind to what is happening around me.  Walking around with my nose stuck in a book or newspaper or paper (no matter how enjoyable) robs me of the sight of those same trees swaying in the wind, or the sight of people scurrying like squirrels to get to their places.  I don’t really enjoy watching the cars go by–far less interesting than watching people.  But I would also lose the enjoyment of watching birds and squirrels and other animals.

I think the point of this is, why cut myself off from the world?  It’s enjoyable to see and hear what happens around me most of the time.  And if there are unpleasant moments, as there are bound to be, then take joy in the nice moments.  One of my favorite times of year is spring on campus, when I can walk down the mall and watch the tall trees sway in the same wind that tugs at my hair, and see that particular shade of emerald green that grass turns in spring.  Watching the world around me is almost infectious.  Even in winter there is some joy to be found in my surroundings, even if I do hate the cold.

This is more than a pagan thing.  Everyone should take joy in the world around them.  There’s so much beauty and joy if you only take the time to look.  Stop once in a while and appreciate it.

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4 responses to “Paying Attention is a Good Thing

  1. I like this post, it reminds me of the saying “Stop an smell the flowers.” Which is always fun, even if the flowers one is smelling is a bunch of lilies – cause lilies are still beautiful to look at and if one is smelling them, then at the very least one is looking in the lilies general direction and they are being appreciated that way.

    Also it reminded me that of the saying “the best things in life are free”, which besides being a Janet Jack song is also good advice. All the things you in a narrative poetic style (sort of), are free. And while I’m not going to say that there is anything better then cozying up in a comfortable spot with a good book and with nothing else planned but getting lost in the pages of said book, there are times that sometimes going out and experiencing real wind, and hearing real birds may be better then what’s in a book (if only to provide a reference point for the next time I’m reading — it would be hard to imagine what a hawk calling out as it swoops and soars, esp. if one never heard it before). But it doesn’t cost anything to go out an experience this, unlike an iPod, and these experiences are more dynamic and are in Real Life 3D – for free (take that James Cameron).

    • And don’t get me wrong, I LOVE books (as you well know Stevan). Books are amazing things. Just maybe don’t walk around reading one and miss everything, haha!

  2. This is definitely going to be one of my favorite posts, because it’s an excellent post on a vital topic. I’ll admit I’m one of those who wanders around with my face in my netbook. I suppose the issue is about cutting yourself off from reality – it’s not healthy and it leads to security issues. It strikes me that there’s some key point I’m missing here, but I’m sure it’ll strike me eventually.

    On a side note about rambling – I think that’s the reason we all read your blog – for your thoughts (and rambles.)

    • Lol! My thoughts, yes, but I generally think my thoughts are more coherent on some days as opposed to others. Today happens to be one of those days where putting my thoughts into words is just difficult, and so a ramble is what spews forth.

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